Actor Sam Phillips exclusive interview

Taryn Davies
Published: May 26, 2015

Sam Phillips will next appear in the BBC’s hugely popular drama The Syndicate, and with roles like Far From The Madding Crowd, Hotel Trubble and Peter Versus Life under his belt, things are only going to get better for the hardworking actor.

In anticipation for the new series of The Syndicate, a series written by BAFTA-winning writer Kay Mellor, we caught up with the actor to find out what he’s been up to, the newest shows and films he recommends and what he has coming up next.

The Syndicate sees Sam play the role of Spencer, stepson of Lord Hazelwood (Anthony Andrews) and self-righteous heir to the once-impressive, not debt ridden Hazelwood Manor. The all-star cast also includes Larry Henry, Cara Theobold and Elisabeth Berrington.

Sam Phillips

The hugely popular drama The Syndicate is back for a third series, can you tell us a little bit about it?

It's about the people who work at the crumbling Hazelwood manor forming a syndicate that wins the lottery and what happens when downstairs becomes significantly richer than upstairs. Essentially it puts the social class system under the microscope. I can't wait to see it.

And what about your character Spencer, what’s he like?

Spencer is the stepson and son of Lord and Lady Hazelwood. He's a man who's driven by money and the luxury lifestyle it affords him but he's running out of it fast. He's furious when he learns of the lottery win and puts a plan into action that will greatly reward him financially.

What kind of relationship does he have with the workers of Hazelwood Manor?

He dislikes them. He thinks everyone's beneath him. Not the most pleasant of people.

You’ve worked in both TV and film, which do you prefer?

After filming Far From The Madding Crowd and The Syndicate in close succession I really couldn't choose between them. I approach both mediums in the same way and find them both rewarding in equal measure.

If you could only work in one area for the rest of your career, which would it be?


You recently also appeared in the Victorian period drama Far From The Madding Crowd, what was that like? 

It was fantastic to be part of a film based on such a well known classic. Plus I'm a huge fan of Thomas Vinterberg. It's always incredible to work with someone you've held in such high regard.

Far From The Madding Crowd film still

Far From The Madding Crowd
Credit: Alex Bailey

It’s a period piece, why do you think there is such a demand/popularity for period pieces at the moment? 

I think there's a romanticism about them- the costumes, the language, the history- they're a great form of escapism.

You’ve also got an independent UK film, Hot Property, coming up – what can you tell us about this? 

It's a comedy that's focused around a woman who loses her flat and identity and does everything she can to get them back. She meets some pretty off the wall characters on the way.

It also stars Myanna Buring who’s had an amazing career that’s even reached Hollywood, would you like something similar? 

I just want to be doing work that challenges and excites me. Whether that leads me to Hollywood who knows. I certainly wouldn't say no if the likes of Quentin Tarantino came knocking at my door that's for sure.

The UK film industry has gone from strength to strength in recent years, why do you think this is? 

We're lucky to have a pool of great creatives in the UK film industry in the form of writers, directors, actors etc. As long as we have people who are passionate and continue to drive this industry forward then we're in safe hands.

Other than the projects we’ve mentioned, do you have anything else on the horizon? 

I'm just auditioning right now with a few possible things on the horizon. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

What are you currently watching on TV that you’d recommend to The Fuss’ readers?

A friend recently recommended a new Channel 4 comedy called 'Catastrophe'. It's one of the funniest sitcoms I've seen in the last few years. Its real balls to the wall writing and the two central characters (Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan) are pitch perfect. I hope they bring out a second series.

What are you currently watching on Netflix/Amazon Prime that you’d recommend to The Fuss’ readers?  

Bloodline. I don't want to say too much, just get watching.

Finally, what was the last film you saw at the cinema and would you recommend we go and see it too?

Still Alice. Julianne Moore's performance was heart breaking. She fully deserved her Oscar.

The Syndicate is premiering on Tuesday June 2, time to be confirmed.